'How to Live' by Henry Alford

The Los Angeles Times recently printed an article about How to Live, by Henry Alford, a comedian who set out to write a book about wisdom.

"Nothing distresses one of my friends more than hearing that someone has died short of their 70th birthday and Psalm 90's promise of three score and 10 years. For Henry Alford, humorist and Thurber Prize recipient, the loss is more concrete. "If people are repositories of knowledge," he notes, "and the death of an old person, an African saying runs, is like the burning of a library -- then I want a library card. I want borrowing privileges for the rest of my life."

"In "How to Live," Alford seeks to capture that wisdom "before it slips off into the night" by plumbing the years beyond the biblical promise, a time the mid-40s writer hopes are ripe for "realizations and breakthroughs." To do that, he sets out on a multi-pronged odyssey, combing through "wisdom literature," psychosocial studies as well as interviewing those who've outlived the Psalms' prophecy."

To read the rest of this article, click here

Reuters UK also printed an interview with Alford.

"Q: Did you come to a conclusion as to what defines wisdom?

A: "It's such a slippery topic, it's like sculpting with mashed potatoes. There are about 9 million definitions, but you can talk about five general principles -- reciprocity, doubt, non-attachment, working for the social good, and discretion. I never point-blank say wisdom is this, because it's so many things.""

To read the rest of the interview, click here

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